Can microbes wipe out banana pest?

Things are happenning in our EM world!

Picked up this one from the Phillipines, advocates of organic farming are promoting the idea of using effective microorganisms (EM) technology to battle the deadly black sigatoka pest that has affected banana plantations in Mindanao. Apparently farmers are already seeing good results with EM and Bokashi in terms of general farming productivity in the area, good to hear!

When it comes to the banana pest it seems the alternative is fungicide. Which is hardly a pleasant option. Costa Rica has had the same problem and are having success with EM — lets hope it turns out to be a hit in the Phillipines too. No discussion which is the more organic way to go!

4 thoughts on “Can microbes wipe out banana pest?

  1. I just want to say thank you. I just finished reading your blog and I’m filled with such enthusiasm and hope for bokashi composting now. Madam, you with your enthusiasm have inspired me.

    You see my family (it was really dad’s thing) has always had a compost heap (a fairly rare thing here in the USA, at least on the east coast) but it’s always seemed to take forever to break anything down. I hadn’t really started thinking in depth about how one ought to go about composting (or rather if there were better methods than what we were using) until the last year when one of my favorite brands of chips (Sunchips) came out with a compostable bag. It seemed like such a marvelous idea I just had to support it. But when we added the bags to the compost heap (it’s really more of a pile that just gets dumped on out in my parent’s back yard) and left it they seemed to mostly just get blown around or sit there – no evidence of composting. In talking to my aunt (dad’s side of the family too) she also was not seeing any evidence of composting with her Sunchips bags, so I vowed to do some research and experimenting! I went out and tried to “turn” the pile to mix it in and discovered all these buried collections of unbroken down goodies (very old compost additions) which made me think that our compost is a) either really extraordinarily slow or b) not doing well at all.

    As usual I forgot about it for a while until my friend’s new blog started up (she blogs about eating healthy, being environmentally friendly, and energy efficient all on a graduate school stipend as well as her take on the graduate school experience) which reminded me of my own environmentally friendly leanings and compost. (It also reminded me that I wanted to do some research and look into the compostable potato chip bag.) And now that I have the know-how I have plans (or hopes of plans) to start my own bokashi compost bin and to share my learning to my dad and aunt (as well as my good friends and fellow earth enthusiasts)! Maybe I’ll even be able to help my family’s old compost pile out in the process.

    Again thank you for spreading the bokashi composting bug!

    1. Cheryl, thank you! It’s really interesting to hear your story and really cool that you’re fired up to go out and spread the word. I had a look at the blog post you wrote after doing one hell of a fast and deep dive into the subject. It was a great summing up from all angles, hope many MANY people find your post and get fired up by your enthusiasm!
      I’m pretty sure that if you submerge the odd bucket of fermented Bokashi into your Dad’s compost heap it will get a new life quite fast and you’ll have some great soil by spring. But I’d love to hear about how it turns out with those Sunchip bags. Maybe you could do some before and after counts and photos? Maybe split your compost into two and do a comparison test…
      Good luck with it all! And keep us posted!

    1. Hi! I really don’t know but will ask around in my contacts. Probably the best way is to search for “Effective Microorganisms” in the Philippines, search also for “nature farming”, “EM”, “EM-1” and of course Bokashi. Possibly also “Teruo Higa”. Would be interesting to hear what you come up with!
      EM is not organised like a regular company, it’s living its own life in each country and region. The philosophy is that it should be made available to all farmers everywhere, at an affordable price, and the message is mainly spreading by word-of-mouth rather than through any big advertising campaigns. Which is promising for the future!

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